While the rest of the world is being rocked by the bursting property bubble, Australia's market is holding up well, though some areas are doing better than others.
The property market around the globe has been a wild and unpredictable rollercoaster, and here at home trying to predict how our market will fare has even had the experts stumped.
Until now that is. In the most comprehensive survey of its kind, Smart Investor Magazine has listed the country's top 601 suburbs, detailing median prices, revealing where they will fall, where they will rise, and where to get the best returns over the next year.More stories from Today Tonight
Smart Investor as examined the top performing 100 suburbs in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, the best 51 in Tasmania, 30 in the ACT and Top 20 in the Northern Territory.
Editor Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon says the forecast is sobering, but far from disastrous.
It seems that in terms of property, 2012 is a year to sit tight and hope to break even.
“If you don't need to sell right now, in many areas you probably shouldn't,” she said.
“If your house has maintained its value in the past year and going forward, then you're doing really well - you've preserved your wealth, which is a great thing,” Pedersen-McKinnon explained.
“Just like in shares, where not going to see double-digit property returns for a good while to come, and that's this potential property bubble gently deflating, which is a good thing.”
While the forecast is grey, there is a silver lining, according to real estate agent Emma Everett.
Voted 2011 Australia's Buyers Agent of the Year, Everett from Momentum Wealth knows how to grab a bargain.
“I think buyers can afford to be a bit more selective,” she said.
“While there is more stock around, you can be a bit more picky, and certainly sellers and builders are starting to offer more value for money as a result."
She recommends buyers get lots of information on what’s happening in the areas they are thinking of investing in.
“If there is something that’s coming up, that isn't here yet, like a new train station or new cafe strip - all the better, so it gives them more good reasons to by the property.”
According to Smart Investor in the balancing act to 'break even' a property must rise three per cent to keep up with inflation.
“We actually fell three per cent overall last year, and are forecast to grow by three per cent this year, but that is going to be very much location by location, state by state. It is going to be different all over the place,” Pedersen-McKinnon said.
So how have the states performed?
In the Top End, Darwin tanked seven per cent last year.
This year predictions state Braitling and Larapinta will fall one per cent, but Gunn and Stuart Park will rise more than four per cent.
“The Northern Territory had some of the biggest falls around the country, with prices dropping by seven per cent last year. We're forecasting that in six of the top twenty you're going to see growth this year,” Pedersen-McKinnon said.
The horror floods meant Brisbane was the worst performing city in the country, with prices falling 7.5 per cent.
Predictions state holiday haven Coolangatta, will see unit prices fall by at least one percent, this year, while Brisbane's Grange will see no change.
Mining has also been a boom for property and coal mine towns Moranbah and Blackwater are predicted to jump over five per cent.
“There's no doubt the mining areas in Queensland are dragging up the median prices in the state, but there are other areas that are actually really struggling,” Pedersen-McKinnon said.
New South Wales performed best overall, but Sydney prices were still down 1.3 per cent.
Sydney's apartment market is expected to face the full brunt of the downturn. In Warwick Farm prices are expected to fall at least two per cent, while Wahroonga will see no change.
It’s good news for home owners in Five Dock and Condell Park, as prices are expected to punch through five per cent growth.
“New South Wales is really propping up the country in terms of real estate at the moment. Of the top 100 suburbs that we list, all 100 of them have grown with inflation, and we’re forecasting almost half of those to keep doing so,” Pedersen-McKinnon said.
Canberra's house prices fell 3.5 per cent last year, and a fall of one per cent is expected on homes in Curtin and units in Griffith.
A House in Chisholm is expected to rise four per cent, while next door, Monash is the stand out - passing the four per cent barrier.
According to Pedersen-McKinnon “it's location, location, location like never before. It's all about proximity to amenities, proximity to strong job prospects.”
Melbourne prices fell by 3.4 per cent last year, and prices are set to continue to fall on units in Collingwood and Burwood by at least one per cent.
However bayside suburbs McCrae and Williamstown should rise four per cent, and break the three per cent mark respectively.
“Victoria is another stand-out state when it comes to property. All 100 of our top suburbs actually grew, and the state itself dropped by only five per cent last year. It's not going to continue however - eleven of our top suburbs are forecast to fall in the year ahead,” Pedersen-McKinnon said.
Down in Hobart Prices fell five per cent. They will continue to fall one per cent in Newnham near Launceston. Closer to Hobart, Midway Point is set to suffer.
New Town, and Blackmans Bay are the state's standout - seeing more than four per cent growth.
“Tasmania is another market that is really suffering in this property correction, with prices dropping five per cent last year, and of our top 50 only twelve actually grew.”
In Adelaide, the median fell by 3.9 per cent and homes at Lockleys and Christies Beach are set to go backwards.
However suburbs that will defy the overall trend are Golden Grove and Bridgewater, both expected to rise above four per cent.
“The news in South Australia is not great right now. Only sixteen of its top 100 suburbs actually grew, and only two of those are forecast to keep doing so. There's a lot of red on the board in South Australia, but the falls should be small,” Pedersen-McKinnon said.
“If you've got a property in South Australia you might want to hang onto it for a bit longer.”
In Perth prices plunged 5.2 per cent, but only homes in upmarket City Beach and Stirling are expected to lose value.
On the rise this year are West Perth and Willetton, which are expected to increase by more than five per cent.
“Prices ran too far and too fast in WA, driven by that mining boom again, so what we're seeing is falls of five per cent in the last year. Only nine of the top 100 actually grew, only seven are predicted to keep doing so.”
‘Location, location, location’ might be an old cliché, but it’s a good one for a reason.
“Look for location,” Pedersen-McKinnon advised. “You can change a lot of things about the property, but you can't change the location. So don't compromise on location when you're looking at a purchase.”
While the market is weak, be ruthless, and battle to get every dollar you can off the price.
”Consider that even $5,000 off the purchase price over the course of a loan could mount to actually more like $15,000 with interest and stamp duty costs, so it’s well worth your effort.”
Australia's top 601 suburbs - www.afrsmartinvestor.comThis reporter is on Twitter at @LauraSparkes7